For the record, the title of this post could be any of the following:
What happens if no one listens to my podcast?
What happens if no one watches my videos?
What happens if no one downloads my music?
Regardless of what comes after the “no one” part, the sentiment is the same.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.
Because ultimately, the only reason that matters for why you blog or make a video or record a song or build a new widget is to satisfy the creative urge you have to make something beautiful, unique, original, useful.
To put something together that never existed before.
If one of the results of your creation happens to be a bigger list, a national award, or paying customers, terrific! Nothing wrong with earning a living from your creativity.
Why It Pays to Begin with the Creative Drive
Have you ever watched children in a room filled with items for creation? I’m referring to clay, crayons, paper, paint, blocks, fabric, glitter. (I have deliberately left out anything to do with a electricity or a screen for old fashioned illustrative purposes.)
Their focus is intense.
They are smiling.
They aren’t preoccupied with how many likes or downloads or conversions they’re going to get. They aren’t calculating how much money their creation will put in their bank account.
They are making things because it’s fun to make things.
Carrying that spirit into whatever enterprise you’re undertaking can be rewarding. On many levels.
However, If You Want More Readers (or Listeners, Viewers, or Customers)…
…then putting a strategy together that coexists with your creative drive is a must.
Blogging can be a terrific vehicle for generating exposure around your area of expertise or product line. (For the record, so can podcasting and making videos). While some so-called “experts” are claiming blogging is dead, people like Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group, says it’s anything but.
“Blogging isn’t dead,” Chris writes in a recent post. Visitors may no longer go directly to your site, he explains, but this doesn’t mean they won’t find you and what you make through other channels.
Brandon Gaille of The Blog Millionaire agrees. It is definitely possible to build a targeted audience of readers who not only want to consume your creative content, but share it with their social networks, too.
Not a Case of Selling out
Starting a new venture from a purely creative place doesn’t mean commercial success isn’t part of the bigger plan. The concept of selling out seems almost quaint in today’s highly commercialized world, where even advice has become commoditized (Heard of life coaching? It’s is a billion dollar industry these days.) More people than ever go online everyday looking to start a business or side hustle through blogging, video, or podcasting.
Plenty of opportunities exist for those who have the determination, passion, and perseverance to see their ideas through.
The secret is to love whatever you’re doing first. That love will carry you through the days or weeks when you may not feel like doing whatever medium of creative expression you’ve chosen. It will give you the strength to do it anyway.
It will certainly give you an advantage over the majority of folks who start something for the wrong reasons (e.g. simply getting results like money or fame), only to abandon the venture soon after starting because it didn’t “pay off.”
Success in Anything Is a Long Game
“The world is a noisy place” is almost a cliche these days. Everyone who has a product or service to sell is looking for a way to get noticed — usually instantly. That’s difficult to do. Viral videos and blog posts are still very rare. Getting noticed takes a long time, often years. As Tom Clancy so succinctly points out in the above quote, “An overnight success is ten years in the making.”
And while intrinsic rewards like joy, happiness and personal satisfaction don’t directly pay the bills during the inevitable waiting period between inception and lift off —
sometimes, creativity for creativity’s sake can provide the bridge to get us where someone will pay for helping them solve their most pressing problem.
Even if that problem is needing something beautiful to read, listen to, or watch.
And remember: if you enter the creative door with a pure heart, you will always have a fan of one — yourself.
Image with quote credit to quotefancy.com